Fox Foundation backs Evotec's Parkinson's project

The Michael J. Fox Foundation awarded a grant to Evotec to support the company's work in Parkinson's disease, bankrolling a project meant to clear the way for new therapies.

The foundation has committed an undisclosed sum to help Evotec with its TargetaSN program, through which the company is developing an assay that can measure the amount of a protein called alpha-synuclein in nerve cells. Buildups of alpha-synuclein are closely related to the advance of Parkinson's, Evotec said, and targeting the protein presents a promising path for new treatments.

But before drug developers can meaningfully attack the target, they need a reliable means of measuring it, the Fox Foundation said, and Evotec's assay work has the potential to unlock new research in Parkinson's.

The TargetaSN program "is part of a larger Evotec initiative to address neurodegenerative diseases through highly innovative approaches involving patient-derived stem cells and genetically validated mechanisms," company Chief Scientific Officer Cord Dohrmann said in a statement. "Within this initiative, we systematically explore mechanisms that have been validated through human genetics in the context of patient-derived neuronal cells."

Headquartered in Hamburg, Evotec splits its business between CRO-like services for drugmakers and proprietary drug development. The model has attracted partners including Pfizer ($PFE), Bayer, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Roche ($RHHBY), plus disease foundations around the globe.

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